Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil – 09

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Cecil resumes her investigation of the incident six years ago that led to her mother being sentenced to death (we’ll set aside the fact she wasn’t instantly put to death, as we’ve seen done to other condemned). Seseri warns everyone not to act alone, so Cecil acts alone, rushing bull-headed into all the people involved in the case, and getting stonewalled by all of them.

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After the judge in the trial throws her out of his office, Cecil turns to Shizumu for aid. They have a very interesting, pseudo-romantic scene together in a paddleboat, which is hit by another boat forcing Shizumu to grab Cecil into a compromising position to save her from falling overboard. Throughout this episode we see Shizumu struggling with his conscience. On the one hand, he feels obligated to obey his father, and probably shares a bit of his dad’s hatred for the humans who have oppressed Wuds.

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But his inability to throw away the protective charm Cecil gave him, his confrontation with Quinn, and the look on his face when he’s about to kidnap Cecil using the investigation files as bait all suggest he’s taking no pleasure in deceiving her. But blood proves thicker than water, and if it wasn’t for Sameoka Kiba of Shark Knight (who also spotted Tento Moyo in Canada), Shizumu would have done what his father asked of him: continue preparing “the catalyst” for whatever dread ritual being cooking up.

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We can understand Cecil going to a cop she trusts for help, but we don’t understand why she keeps the rest of the firm in the dark, and doesn’t even enlist Natsuna’s help, even though Natsuna offered it last week. Natsuna’s tsundere defense of Cecil when Seseri chews her out for tardiness (and the other barristers’ shock) was an awesome little scene, but it didn’t result in any collaboration.

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Even when Ageha takes Cecil aside and tells her everyone at Butterfly are her friends whom she can count on, Cecil still goes to Shizumu alone. To uncover the truth about her mom’s case, and more to the point, to stay alive and free, she’s going to have to rely on them more, which means being more open. Of course, depending on Tento Moyo’s true loyalties, even that could backfire.

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Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil – 03

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WizBar’s appeal for us isn’t merely the fact that they spice up the otherwise relatively dry arena of law with wizards and magic, but the fact that those wizards aren’t wholly accepted members of society. We learn that wizards (or rather “Wuds”) are born human but “awaken” to their power, typically around puberty. In other words, they don’t have a say in the matter, and it could happen to anyone.

Despite this, due to their frightening powers, much of society is heavily prejudiced towards them. Wuds aren’t even allowed to have certain jobs, which is why after Hachiya Mitsuhisa awakened, he was discharged as a prosecutor and took up barristering. Every indication is that the community of Wuds needs all the help they can get to avoid getting a raw deal in the very draconian magic justice system.

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Cecil became a barrister primarily to save her mom from unjustice, but in this outing she learns just how difficult that task will be. Even if the prejudice of non-magical people didn’t lead to trumped-up charges and excessive sentences, there are Wuds who are so sick and tired of how shittily they’re treated that they resort to becoming the very monsters their detractors fear.

Lacking solid evidence that Mayu, the Wud in question, killed her victim to avenge her framed boyfriend (whom Hachiya prosecuted two years ago, before he became a Wud), she is spared the death penalty. Rather than celebrate, she uses the verdict to put the court itself on trial for hypocrisy and incompetence, and racked with guilt, Hachi releases her bindings so she can carry out her sentence on him.

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Only she wants to kill everyone there. What’s so tragic is that she not so consumed with grief and hatred towards her enemies, she might’ve lived long enough to reveal to Cecil the secret conspiracy she’s caught wind of, one that’s been hanging out on the fringes of this show all along, and further hinted at when Cecil is approached by two skeezy headhunters from a rival firm.

Cecil continues to have quite an eventful time as a new barrister, to the point that just her second trial results in her awakening to an all-new form of magic. There’s Something Going On; there’s a prophecy involving Cecil, and parties in the shadows that are interested in her. It’s another layer of what’s shaping up to be a rich and satisfying tapestry.

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Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil – 02

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As big and bold as the first episode was, Cecil’s job was only half-done: she had to save her client from wrongful prosecution and execution, which meant proving he wasn’t a member of the robbery gang and acted in self-defense. And while Cecil is a very capable, driven young lady, even she can’t acquire that proof on her own.

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It’s a team effort, with a sizable assist by Ageha, who seems quite comfortable bending or breaking a couple laws to get the location of the gang’s hideout. And while she seems troubled by such misconduct, with a life in her hands, Cecil isn’t going to sweat the little things. We also learn that her mom is also on death row, and her ultimate goal is to successfully defend her in a retrial.

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The first episode gave us a brief glimpse of her metal-harvesting diaboloid powers, but this week, with the entire Tokyo waterfront as her battlefield, Cecil conjures a massive mecha that she pilots. You might say: what the heck does a lawyer need with a mecha? Well, breaking it out means the gang responds in kind, and once they have a witness in custody, he is the proof that sets her client free in the eleventh hour.

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Collateral damage and ethical shortcuts aside, Cecil gets the job done, but we like how she has yet to win everyone over in the firm, while also attracting the gaze of shadowy figures in her line of work she’s sure to cross paths with in the future. But for now we’ll bask in her first victory, making her 1-0—undefeated so far!—delivered with a plucky blend of giant-robot fighting and courtroom drama.

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Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil – 01

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It’s too early to tell (Witch Craft Works was also immensely promising in its first two eps) but we may have chosen to watch the wrong magic-themed show this Winter! Wizard Barristers (which we’ll refer to as WizBar for the rest of this review) storms out of the gate with a bold and bodacious opening episode with a little bit of everything. It’s high on style, accompanied by enough substance to hold our interest and leave us eager to watch episode two.

First of all, we must explain why we’re approximately three months late with this review: we weren’t aware of its existence—or at least in its existence as a show we’d want to watch—until it was recently recommended by a friend. We also dove in knowing that Umetsu Tasuomi is an immensely capable director (even when he has to insert hentai in his works) and that scriptwriter Itou Michiko is responsible for a lot of stuff we’ve liked (Working!!, Moretsu Pirates).

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This show also gives us a sneak-peek of Tanabe Rui, who will be voicing a main character in an upcoming Spring series. She attains a nice balance of cuteness, confidence, idealism and intensity as half-Canadian rookie wizard barrister Cecil Sudou. Her introductions at the Butterfly Law Firm serve as our introductions to the eclectic legal staff, whose opinions on Cecil range from admiration to haughtiness.

But as she’s already brought in a client before setting foot in the office (snagging him at the crime scene where he’s arrested), senior partner Ageha Chouno forgives her tardiness and lets her take the case. We’ll admit to being fans of law procedurals from Law & Order to Boston Legal, so it’s great to see the genre represented in anime form, and with a magical twist.

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An important part of enjoying a show is liking the characters it throws at you, and our initial impressions of Cecil are very positive. She’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; an immensely talented legal prodigy still getting accustomed to life as an adult that we can’t help but root for. We also appreciated the show pulling out all the stops from the get-go, featuring a Die Hard film’s worth of action and ‘splosions.

But we’re not under any illusions things will be that intense every episode. Despite that, we’re definitely going to continue watching. While both shows are heavy on the oddly-dressed people, the world of WizBar has a decidedly more mature and serious feel to it than the more Candy Landish-Witch Craft Works, and even minor criminals have a dangerous edge to them. We figure by about the fourth episode, we’ll know if in fact, we watched the wrong magic show.

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